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SSR Picks: November 11 2021

Flux of Pink Indians: Strive to Survive Causing the Least Suffering Possible 12” (Spiderleg Records, 1982)

A few weeks ago, I noticed a gap in my Flux of Pink Indians collection. I’ve had Neu Smell and The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks for years, but I guess I’d never come across a copy of Strive to Survive in the wild, so I didn’t have it on vinyl. I knew the songs thanks to CD releases—Not So Brave (which compiled various demo recordings) and the disc that combined Strive to Survive and Neu Smell—but sitting with this LP as it was originally released has been enlightening.

Everyone knows “Tube Disasters,” a song beloved by algorithms across the world. (Seriously, Spotify and YouTube serve it up to me so constantly that I’ve gotten a little sick of it.) However, Strive to Survive reminds me that “Tube Disasters” wasn’t Flux’s only anthem. In particular, the one-two punch that begins side 2, “Progress” and “They Lie We Die,” is one for the ages… two songs exploding with energy that demand to be sang along with. The entire album is great though. While Flux had a similar manic, impassioned energy to Crass, their music is more straightforward and played tighter (maybe those two things are related?), giving Strive to Survive a propulsive forward motion that helps it stand toe to toe with the emerging US hardcore scene.

My copy doesn’t have any inserts, but the artwork is haunting and beautiful (and unique!). While I would like to read the other inserts, the inside of the gatefold tells the long story of the band creating the photographs for the record, and it’s an interesting read. Their idea was to photograph the backdrop banners from their stage shows at a nuclear site, which brings them into contact (and conflict) with the police and government.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything insightful to say about Strive to Survive. It’s a killer album, catching the band at the peak of their talent for writing anarcho punk anthems. By the time they released their next album, the sprawling double LP The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks, two years later, they were a much tougher listen. Still a great listen, but a more demanding one for sure.


What’s up Sorry Staters?

I had a great time with my homies in Public Acid this past weekend. I got back from my weekend outing and immediately got boosted. Not unlike the 2nd Moderna I got several months back, this shot knocked me the fuuuuck out. I’m feeling better now as I’m writing this, but I’m still a little exhausted. Gotta suck it up though, because this Friday Scarecrow is rolling up to Philly to rip it up with Quarantine for their record release. I will be functioning on pure stoke.

Now onto talking about records and nerd shit I guess. I’m not sure if I’m putting Daniel’s recent record haul on blast, but he recently acquired a bunch of killer Finnish punk records. At our warehouse location while we were both working yesterday, he was playing the Ratsia LP. On this LP, the band does a rendition of the Buzzcocks’ “What Do I Get?”, but translate all the lyrics into Finnish. It sounds killer reworked in their native language. As we kept listening, we were asking each other, “Are there more covers on this LP?” So many of the songs sounded familiar, but weren’t always instantly recognizable. I think it’s so cool when punk bands of yesteryear take early bangers of the era and translate them into a different language. One of my favorite examples of this is “Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra” by Vulpess, which is a cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” This Basque Country/Spain-based all non-male punk band released this track as a single in 1983, and their version is KILLER. It’s funny, I’ve brought this track up to friends in the past and some of them had their mind blown learning that Vulpess’s big single is a cover. I even had to prove it to someone once by pointing out that one of the songwriting credits is “J. Osterberg,” which as we all know is the birth name of Iggy Pop ;) To be fair, Vulpess totally reinvents the song. Especially if you don’t speak Spanish, if you were to listen to this song and not focus on recognizing the chord changes or the arrangement, then it’s easy to see why the song would breeze past like an original. Compared to the Stooges’ version, Vulpess push the speed and morph it from a sludging, circular drone into a driving ripper of a track. Plus, the vocals are injected with so much venom and sassy, snotty attitude. The best part is that little turn around part, a section which has no vocals in the original, becomes this sick refrain where gang vocals sing “YA-YA-YA-YA-YA!” It’s so catchy. I haven’t translated all of the lyrics, but clearly some of them are reworked. The meaning of the hook seems to be changed purposefully. “Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra” basically translates to “I like being a bitch,” which flips the intention of the song and makes it mean as fuck. Vulpess were a bunch of badasses.

If you’ve never heard this track before, check it out. There’s even a cool live footage music video to go along with it.

That’s all I’ve got. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week,

-Jeff


Hello loyal Sorry State followers and thank you for clicking on our newsletter. We appreciate you spending time with us. This week we are publishing the newsletter on November 11th, which is of course Veterans Day here in America and Remembrance Day in the UK. Before I go any further, let’s honor and remember those that served, fought and died for their countries and our freedoms. No need to add any additional political opinion here although I am sure those veterans that fought against Imperial oppression and fascist ideology and died for it are spinning in their graves at the sight of our now domestic terrorists and the disgusting behavior of the right wing. And I said no politics. Damn. Oh well, still fuck you to all Trumpers, Republicans, crazy Christians and science deniers. You all shame the memory of our vets.

Okay, moving on. Shall we talk about music and records instead? This week I don’t have a “staff pick” per se but wanted to indulge myself to sing the praises of one of my all-time favorite singers and artists, the late, great Miss Sarah Vaughan. The divine one to her world of fans, “Sassy” to those that knew and played with her. Hopefully I don’t need to go into too much detail about her and her career, do I? You know who she is right? She’s a jazz legend whose career lasted close to fifty years, beginning when she won a talent contest in 1942 at the famed Apollo Theatre aged 18. On the back of that winning performance, she was invited back that same year to open for Ella Fitzgerald and never looked back. She worked with almost every notable jazz icon there was, putting her time in as a big band singer and playing all the jazz spots in New York and other major cities across the country. By the late 1940s and going into the 1950s, she was a bona fide star and scoring hit records. Her discography is huge. She recorded for over a dozen labels including Atlantic, Columbia, EmArcy, Mainstream, Mercury, Roulette and Pablo. Her repertoire ranged from swinging big band numbers to intimate jazz trio material. She sang with a full orchestra on some records and rock bands on others and tried her hand at many different styles but always keeping her identity and staying classy and sassy. You can hit this link here to visit her Wikipedia page for a fuller career run down.

There is a very good reason for me personally as to why I love her so much. You see, I was fortunate to have met her not long before her passing in 1991. I had just begun my years working on cruise ships. It was early 1989 and Miss Vaughan was taking a cruise on the ship I was working on. I was assigned to be her server for the week. She ate mostly alone, but was joined by her assistant occasionally. She wasn’t performing on the ship, although even then she was still performing. Sadly, however, at this time she was becoming sick and later that same year was diagnosed with lung cancer whilst working a series of dates at New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club. Those dates were to be her final performances.

At the time I was her server, I was just 20 years old and although I had heard her name, I admit to not knowing her music that well. My appreciation for jazz was already in place then, but I hadn’t got much into the vocalists at that point. Meeting her changed that. Whilst attending to her I didn’t get too many long conversations with her, but I did ask her some questions about music and her career. I think I asked her what her favorite album was, and she laughed and said there were too many to include, but I remember her saying that she liked the live ones the most and that performing before an audience was where the real magic happened. That next stop in port, I visited the music store and bought a bunch of her albums on CD. One was a live album recorded at Mr. Kelly’s, a jazz club in Chicago in 1957. That Japanese import CD has stayed with me ever since, although I own the vinyl record now. The CD includes twenty songs recorded over the three nights of recording in August 1957, whereas the LP came out with just nine songs. I must have listened to this album hundreds of times. It’s so good. Sarah Vaughan backed by a trio in an intimate club. The band consisted of Jimmy Jones on piano, Richard Davis on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. Those musicians and Sarah were in their absolute prime then, and the performance is sublime. The audience then and us after the fact are treated to pure class and even a little comedy as Sarah messes up the words to Willow Weep For Me and ad-libs the lyrics admitting her mistake. There is also a moment when a mic or music stand falls over. It all adds to the “live” aspect of the recording and only increases the charm and makes the listener feel they are right there in the club. She does a nice version of How High The Moon also with comedy ad-libs that I did dig and scats like Ella on it. That the original release was only nine tracks, I can’t help feeling the world was cheated somehow. It would have made an awesome double album. Thankfully all the performances are on the digital format.

After the news of her death in 1991, I felt especially privileged to have been in her presence and to have had those moments with her. As the years went on my love for her went from strength to strength as too did my appreciation for her jazz peers like Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Whenever I see one of her records I don’t have, I pick it up. Honestly, for years they weren’t hard to find or expensive although nowadays you may have to spend a bit more for nice original copies. Still, there are plenty out there and you should just dive in. Any opportunity to hear a real vocalist at work is never a lost one. Forget all the pop rubbish that passes for singing these days and check out the real deal. Amy Winehouse knew.

I like the albums she cut in the late sixties on Mainstream and Roulette too. There are some good funky moments on them. The ones she did on Pablo in the seventies are good also, again some funky and groovy moments on them and particularly a Brazilian influence. Just like lots of other singers, she was blessed to work with Quincy Jones and the combination of their two talents makes for some good listening on several albums they cut together.

One other album that I visit frequently by her is called, aptly, The Divine One that came out in 1961 on the Roulette label. That’s a great one and if you see it, pick it up. It’s a great example of her style and is arranged by Jimmy Jones who played piano on the Mr. Kelly’s recordings. The tune Trouble Is A Man from that set is a fine performance.

I could go on highlighting other great performances but should finish up here. Perhaps you have your own favorites, and if you are just discovering her, then I am sure you will find some. On Worldy this week Matt and I did an autumn show and kicked things off with Sarah Vaughan doing a song called Trees from a 1960 album called Dreamy, also on Roulette. It fitted the theme and vibe of the show so well and I was thrilled to play a tune of hers on the show. Hit the link for the full show if you are interested.

Alright, that’s my time. Thanks for reading. Go listen to music and we’ll see you next time.

Peace and love- Dom.


I wrote about NIGHTFEEDER when we got the demo tapes at Sorry State back in September of last year. I think the EP was supposed to be out a bit ago, but of course everything is delayed in vinyl production right now. The wait for this release has had my anticipation growing each week! If you missed out on the demo, you can give it a listen here. Good luck trying to find a physical copy though… the band sold so many copies that they repressed the cassette, and I can confidently say all those tapes have happy homes. The EP starts with the same track as the demo (but a different recording), Exploited Partisans. Is it cheesy to do that? I don’t care. The song is so good… the intro is like a fucking avalanche. After this track, the A-side finishes with a song called 1491. I am guessing this song is about the first colonizers who landed on what is now the United States. Some people write lyrics about how they hate their peers, ex-partner, or other dumb shit that I do not give a fuck about. I really appreciate this man’s ability to write lyrics about historical events that shaped the world as we know it today. It reminds you of the past, and not to forget it. Or, it brings events to one’s attention that may have been unknown prior. It is empowering. The B-side starts with a track called Havin’ A Hard Time. The feel to this song differs from the rest. It sticks out with its more ‘rocked out’ riffs. Hearing them cover MISSBRUKARNA on the demo tape, this song makes sense to me though. The songs sound nothing alike, but both songs stuck out from the rest on the releases they appear on. It’s a nice change-up from the ‘crust’ sound regardless. The EP ends with the title track from their demo, Rotten. This is a great song to end on. It brings everything back in, and the EP ends on a powerful note. I think this EP is killer, and you should check it out. However, I am writing a review more or less, so I need to provide you with my other feelings on the EP. I would have been more excited during my listen if I got to experience some new jams. I think the demo cassette sounded fucking excellent, so I am not sure why they choose to re-record two of the songs for the EP. I can understand wanting to have those songs pressed on vinyl though, cos they fucking rip. The other thing is, the artwork does not do it for me. I suck at art, so I will not criticize the artist’s ability haha. It’s not even that I think the art is bad. It’s just the feel of the cover I don’t like so much. It doesn’t represent the band’s vibe ‘accurately’ to me. But seriously, who the fuck cares anyway? Last time I wrote about NIGHTFEEDER I had mentioned (unrelated to the band) how it does not matter what your band name is or what the art looks like if your band is excellent. I can’t wait to hear what they do next. Maybe one day I can catch them live and get my fuckin mind blown. Thanks for reading, peace y’all.


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